Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Royal Navy aircraft carriers dock together in Portsmouth

HMS Queen Elizabeth (right) alongside HMS Prince of Wales Image copyright Ben Mitchell
Image caption HMS Queen Elizabeth (right) and its identical sister ship HMS Prince of Wales coast £3.1bn each

The Royal Navy's two giant aircraft carriers have docked together, stern to bow, for the first time at their home base of Portsmouth.

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at the naval base following a three-month deployment to the USA for test flights of its F-35B Lightning jets.

The 65,000-tonne warship manoeuvred into place alongside its sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales shortly after 10:40 GMT.

HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption HMS Queen Elizabeth (right) returned to her home port – where she was greeted by sister ship HMS Prince of Wales
Sailors on the HMS Queen Elizabeth waved to the crowds Image copyright PA Wire
Image caption Sailors on the HMS Queen Elizabeth waved to the crowds
HMS Queen Elizabeth Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption Crowds lined vantage points to see the aircraft carrier arrive

The ship, which arrived for the first time at Portsmouth last month, will be commissioned later this month by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

The Queen Elizabeth and its carrier strike group sailed from the UK in August to carry out the flight tests involving UK jets for the first time.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commanding officer of the Queen Elizabeth, said: "Homecomings are always a special occasion, but to be returning to Portsmouth, with HMS Prince of Wales welcoming us home makes this a particularly special occasion."

HMS Queen Elizabeth Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption Hundreds of people greeted the warship as it sailed into Portsmouth

Major upgrade work has been carried out on the jetties at Portsmouth to allow the two giant ships to berth beside each other.

The two 919ft (280m) long aircraft carriers are expected to be in service for the next 50 years.

The ships which cost £3.1bn each are the largest and most advanced warships ever built for the navy.

They both carry a minimum crew of around 700, increasing to around 1,600 with aircraft onboard.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption Friends and family members welcomed home the crew

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